Bringing It All Together
When purchasing a new collator, ask yourself what is best for your shop.
is it time for you to start looking for a new collator for your in-plant? If it is, there are several important questions to ask yourself before making a decision.
First off, can you afford to purchase the collator that you feel is best for your shop? If it's not in your budget right now, it may be better to wait until you can buy the equipment that you want. This is an investment that should last 10 to 15 years, so make sure you don't purchase an inferior device just to bring in some new equipment.
Computer programming and automation are options that will cut down on operator involvement and set-up times, but will drive up the price of the unit. What is more important to your shop for the future, the initial cost of the device or the time the equipment will save by having automated features? Shops with shorter runs may find automation to be an advantage.
Should you get a friction-feed or or suction-feed unit? Friction-fed sheets are rotated using a rubber tire, which can cause marking to the paper. This worry is eliminated with suction-fed or vacuum-fed units, which use a pulse or stream of air, and allow easier collation of glossy and coated stock.
Of course, these are just a few questions to ponder when making a decision. Making sure the equipment is a good fit for your shop is always what is most important. Here are some recent offerings from collator vendors.
The Watkiss Vario vertical collating system, distributed by A.B.Dick, can be custom built with two to 32 bins, to serve small and rapid-response printers. Suction and friction bins can be positioned in the same tower. Vario can be configured as either a tower or table-top collator. As a tower unit, it features a small, space-saving footprint, while as a table-top unit, it can be connected to a variety of bookletmakers.